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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin to Emma Darwin   25 [November 1865]1


Dear Emma.

I have not yet received the Photo’s & if I do wish to have any of them I will EAD them on the back.2 My present impression is that they are too hideous to be borne.3 I think you had better write to the man & say that C will try again when he comes up to town after Christmas, & you may quote your feminine feelings that Mr Crecy alludes to as a reason.4 (That was all a mistake that we were having a Professorship if you should have occasion to write to Mr Crecy but I read his letter to Council)5

I am very sorry to hear that C has been so poorly & I am afraid it was a mistake his going before Dr B J had wound him up.6

The last account I had of Susan spoke of her having had a good deal of her faintness.7 Catherine goes there today.8

yours affec. | E D


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Edward Cresy to Emma Darwin, 20 November 1865.
CD evidently sat for a photographer during his stay in London, from 8 to 20 November 1865. This may have been Ernest Edwards, who supplied photographs for the series Portraits of men of eminence in literature, science, and art, with biographical memoirs (Reeve and Walford eds.1863–7). CD had agreed to appear in the series (see letter to Edward Walford, 22 [January–April 1865?] and n. 2). An entry in CD’s Classed account book (Down House MS) records a payment of £1 for ‘E. Edwards Photo’ on 2 March 1866. According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), CD did not visit London again until 22 April 1866.
The photographs of CD by Edwards appear to have been taken at two different sittings. It is likely that the portrait used in Edward Walford’s series was taken in 1866, during CD’s visit to London from 22 April to 1 May (see Reeve and Walford eds. 1863–7, 5: facing 49, and Browne 1998, pp. 269–71). Another photograph of CD by Edwards, possibly taken at the November 1865 sitting, is reproduced as the frontispiece to this volume, and in Browne 1998, p. 256. Photographs from both sittings were sold commercially as cartes de visite by the London Stereoscopic Company and the firm of Edwards and Bult. CD evidently purchased copies of one or more of these photographs for his own use. A second payment, of £3 8s. 6d. was made to Edwards on 5 September 1866 (CD’s Classed account book (Down House MS)).
In his letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 and 28 [October 1865], CD wrote that he intended to visit London for a week in order to consult the physician Henry Bence Jones. According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), CD and Emma had stayed with Erasmus in London from 8 to 20 November; CD became feverish on the 20th and did not improve until the 27th (see also ‘Journal’, Appendix II). CD had been consulting Jones since July, and had reported an improvement in his health under the rigorous diet prescribed by Jones (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 27 [or 28 September 1865], letter to T. H. Huxley, 4 October [1865], and letter to W. D. Fox, 25–6 October [1865] and n. 2). CD’s Account book–cash account (Down House MS) records payments to Bence Jones of £12 12s. on 28 November and 9 December 1865.
Susan Elizabeth Darwin, the elder sister of CD and Erasmus, had been ill (see letter to W. D. Fox, 25–6 October [1865]).
CD’s younger sister, Emily Catherine, lived in Shrewsbury with her husband Charles Langton; Susan Elizabeth Darwin lived at The Mount, Shrewsbury (Freeman 1978).


Browne, Janet. 1998. I could have retched all night. Darwin and his body. In Science incarnate. Historical embodiments of natural knowledge, edited by Christopher Lawrence and Steven Shapin. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


Does not like the photos; thinks they should try again.

Last account of Susan Darwin reports she is having a good deal of faintness.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 105: B119–20
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4942,” accessed on 22 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13